Category Archives: Events

Food Revolution Day 2013

Tomorrow is Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution Day!  It is Jamie Oliver’s mission to revolutionize children’s relationship with food.  People have stopped passing down the skills of scratch cooking and home made meals…it’s time to teach our young people who to cook again!  We believe in this mission whole heartedly and believe good nutrition and healthy food service is a path to self sufficiency.  So let’s celebrate that we are having this conversation – and keep your eyes open for opportunities to support this in our community for our children and for our future!frd-Tagline-graphic-a5-horizontal-bg


Bitter Melon Juice

bitter-gourd   I guess it’s time to grow bitter melon.  I have some seeds from Kitazawa Seed and this article about bitter melon juice potentially fighting pancreatic cancer makes it a must grow! “Researchers from the University of Colorado Cancer Center found that the juice of the bitter melon — a green squash-shaped produce with a bumpy skin — could stop pancreatic cancer cells from metabolizing glucose. This is important because cancer cells need this energy in order to survive — and blocking off their glucose supply kills them.” Read the whole article here.  Look for bitter melon juice at the farm stand this summer…

Tang and Flavor-Not too Spicy Starter

Inspired by leeks in the ground right now-needed a nice side dish for a casual
New Years Eve buffet featuring chili

Leek & Goat Cheese Pasilla Rellenos with Butternut Squash

10 pasillas
Roasted on open flame or under broiler
place in bowl with covered with towel to steam and make easier to peel
when cool enough to handle, peel skin off without running under water. You can dip your fingers in water to help control the charred skins. Running peppers under water washes off the flavor. Make a slit in pepper pull out seeds leaving the top and stem intact.
2 bunches leeks
Clean, Saute in butter, deglaze with a splash of white wine
6 ounces goat cheese, 3 ounces good quality feta

Crumble in to warm leeks, add salt and pepper
Stuff Peppers and served on a bed of butternut squash puree.

Square Foot Gardening Workshop!

Join us this Saturday April 23rd 10am-12noon at the Green Lab Urban Farm for a demonstration and talk about the Square Foot Gardening system.

Jennifer van der Fluit, Square Foot Garden expert, will facilitate a 2 hour presentation/lecture/demonstration.

Class description:
Learn a new method of gardening that eliminates long, single rows and wasted space by condensing your garden into small boxed areas! This method simplifies rows of organic produce into manageable bites, allowing you to conserve money, time and resources!  Square Foot Gardening is a wonderful activity for gardeners of any ability!  Whether you consider yourself a green thumb or a hopeless gardener, you will discover that Square Foot Gardening is the way to grow!  Jennifer van der Fluit is a certified Square Foot Gardener and teacher in Long Beach, California.  She is also a master composter.  She has been featured in the LA Times for her living mural planted in front of their Wrigley home.

If there is interest, we will schedule follow up classes: a box-building workshop and seed starting.  With a planting session on another Saturday.

Available on Saturday for purchase:
The Square Foot Gardening book –
2’x4′ and 2’x2′ boxes –
Fresh Hens’ Eggs –
Assorted produce from our farm –

To attend this class on Saturday April 23rd at 10am, there is a $10 fee that goes directly to our instructor for materials, knowledge and her precious time!  You may pay at the door.  No reservation is required. 

Please park in the LBCAP lot at 3012 Long Beach Blvd.  The class will be held in the Green Lab garden, located 1/2 block north – entrance through the alley.  Walk toward the Spring Street Farm and picnic area and turn left.  See you in the garden!!

Church of Vegetables. Lettuce Pray…

I think the saying goes: Welcome to the Church of the Holy Cabbage. Lettuce pray.  I certainly feel the magic of creation when I am starting seeds, praying for germination and that chickens don’t discover the seed starting racks!

Saturday May 28th Green Lab welcomes you to Tomato-mania which just became a Veggie-mania!! We will be at the garden from 9am – 2pm. There will be a chicken keeping class at 10am with a potluck. Plant sale going on all day. Today I met a fabulous Urban Homesteader from Winnetka Farms at the Artisanal LA event. He had a crazy good variety of Italian Heirloom Seeds!! I was relatively reserved in making my purchases…but I guarantee the selection will impress gardeners at all levels of skill and commitment. Here are a few of the heirloom varieties that we can add to the selection of tomatoes at the plant sale in May:

Cantalupo di Charentais
This well known French melon variety is world famous for its dark orange,sweet and fragrant flesh. Fruits are smooth-skinned and weigh about 2 lbs. You won’t find Charentais in your grocery store — it’s thin skin and high sugar content make it fragile to ship when ripe. Enjoy its vine-ripened perfection straight from your garden. If starting seeds indoors, don’t move out until late spring.

Wild Red Chicory
Chicory, wild of the fields is an open plant that grows close to the ground and has white stems and red center with green serrated leaves. Use young in salads or cooked. Sow direct in rows or broadcast sow autumn into spring.

Zucchino Striato D’Italia
Italian Striped has dark green fruit with light green stripes and light ribbing. It has an excellent taste with many flowers on a large, vigorous plant. A good producer and does well in cool weather. Good eating quality even when quite large, but best when picked small.

Nero di Toscana Precoce-
Black Tuscan Cabbage. Used to make the Florentine National dish called ‘Ribollita Toscana’, a stew made the day before. Kale chips or you can pan-fry it with olive oil, pancetta or bacon, and garlic. Elegant Kale.

The Italians love their nettles.  Make ravioli, soup, frittata or even pesto with the prepared greens.  Be sure to blanch them to tame the stinging aspect of the little hairs on the leaves!

Peperone Topepo Rosso
Round red pepper, about 2 inches wide. Sweet and fleshy. Eat fresh, roast, or pickle. The type of pepper you see pickled in Italian delis.

Zucchini, Bolognese
Short thick fruit, almost halfway between a typical zucchini and a round one. Medium green with light speckling. No ribs. Same great taste and texture as all Italian zucchini.

Basilico a foglie di Lattuga
“Lettuce-leaf basil”. This is a vigorous plant with large leaves and a milder taste than Italiano Classico. Use it to  put on a sandwich, wrap a slice of tomato with mozzarella cheese, or on bruschetta. Can be grown in containers.

Green Lab Tomato Mania – May 28th

Save the Date!  Saturday May 28th Green Lab will be open for our first annual Tomato Mania Plant Sale!  The heirloom varieties shown below are just a few of what we will have available for purchase.  In addition to the veggie starts, we will also be selling fresh eggs from our own hens.  Start preparing your ground, beds or boxes or now!!  If you would like to pick up a free – mulch and fresh horse manure blend to amend your soil, please feel free to call or just stop by.  The manure compost is located in the alley between Elm and Long Beach Blvd.

Sweet Orange Cherry– Huge crops of 1″ orange, round cherries. One of the best tasting, most prolific cherry tomatoes I grow year to year. Very, very flavorful and crack resistant.

Italian Gold – Very productive 6 oz. paste variety.

Gold Rush Currant – This strain was a selection by a Dutch seedsman. Our TomatoFest organic tomato seeds produce large, indeterminate, regular-leaf tomato plants with wispy foliage that yield excellent, heavy sets of ¼-inch tomatoes borne in trusses of 10-12. Excellent sweet tomato flavor. A perfect snacking tomato or to adorn salads and culinary creations.
Salisaw Cafe – A wonderfully delicious, early producing cherry tomato to rival Sun Gold tomato in flavor. Our TomatoFest organic tomato seeds produce indeterminate, regular-leaf tomato plants with tall, very productive vines that have huge yields of 3/4-inch, bright-red cherry tomatoes with that perfect combination of super sweet but slightly tart flavors. A great tomato variety for grazing through the tomato vineyards feasting on these sweet ‘jewels.’
Hawaiian Pineapple – A large, golden-orange beefsteak heirloom tomato with fruit that that grows up to 1-1/2 lbs. When fruit is ripe it has a luscious, very rich, sweet pineapple like flavor.  Hawaiian Pineapple tomato seeds are a wonderful addition for your tomato garden.
Japanese Oxheart – Japanese variety. Prolific leafy plant producing 2 1/2 to 3-inch jade pink heart-shaped fruits, firm, thin skin with thick, juicy flesh. Great slicer. Good garden staple.
Siletz – Developed by Dr. James Baggett of Oregon State University. Plants do very well in cooler climates producing deep-red, excellently flavored round, slicing tomatoes 8-10 oz. Very good flavor considering how early a tomato it is.
Costoluto Genovese – Italian, heat-loving, heirloom tomato that has been enjoyed for many generations along the Mediterranean. Large, deep-red fruits have a singularly fluted profile, are deeply ridged, and heavily lobed. Meaty, full-flavored, slightly tart, and delicious. Because of its scalloped edges, perfect for use in an arrangement of different colored sliced tomatoes. Makes a rich and pungent pasta sauce.
Jaune Flamme – Extremely prolific French heirloom tomato that bears in clusters of 6, beautiful, 1 1/2-inch, round, golf-ball sized tomatoes that are persimmon-orange colored inside and out. A delicious full-bodied tomato flavor that literally bursts in your mouth.  Very decorative. Makes a great flavored sauce.  Try these heirloom tomato seeds in your garden for a tasty mouth watering treat.
Dagma’s Perfection – A vigorous and abundant producer of medium-sized (3”, 12 oz.), slightly flattened, pale-yellow fruits with delicate, light red striping. Deliciously flavorful with overtones of tropical fruit and subtle hints of lime. Firm, juicy and elegant in the mouth, and jewel-like in appearance.
Blondkopfchen – An heirloom tomato from eastern Germany. The name of this adorable heirloom cherry tomato means “little blonde girl”.
Our TomatoFest organic tomato seeds produce big, leafy, indeterminate, regular-leaf tomato plants that yield a phenomenal amount of  1/2″, grape-sized, brilliant yellow/gold, cherry tomatoes in clusters of 20-30. The vines are large and sprawling, so give them plenty of space. Blondkopfchen is undoubtedly one of the BEST TASTING cherry tomatoes. Deliciously sweet with a slight citrusy tart finish. I have had this in our garden as our favorite snacking tomato for many years and use this cherry tomato for introducing tomatoes to kids who claim they don’t like tomatoes. Just put this in your mouth and see if you can keep from smiling. For many years TomatoFest has been one of the few commercial sources for these special tomato seeds.
A Non-cracking, disease resistant tomato variety that grows well in most climates including cooler growing regions.

San Marzano Redorta – Named for a mountain, Pizzo Redorta in Bergamo, Italy. This is Gary Ibsen’s preferred Italian paste tomato. A much larger tomato (8 oz., 4-inch) with much better taste than it’s cousin, San Marzano. Good enough to eat off the vine with the bonus of ending up with more tomato paste per plant. Yum!

Black Plum – One of my favorite Russian varieties that produces a long and steady crop of 2-inch elongated plum-shaped fruits colored a beautiful deep-mahogany with dusky-green shoulders. Fruit resembles a small paste tomato but with thinner walls. Unique sweet tangy flavor.

Black Prince – Originally from Siberia, this is one of the most popular and favored black tomatoes. Originally introduced from Irkutsk, Russia and is regarded as a “true Siberian tomato” that does very well in cooler climates. Until only recently this was considered a rare variety in the United States. However, it’s popularity has grown so much in Russia that there is now a company in Volograd that is producing an extract of the Black Prince called “Black Prince Tomato Oil.” The Black Prince tomato is said to have considerable health benefits beyond the presence of lycopene.

These deep garnet round, 2-inch (2-3 oz.) tomatoes are full of juice and incredibly rich fruity flavors. This is a tomato that chefs I deliver to rave about for it’s rich flavors. The small fruits contain deep rich colors on the inside. Perfect for patio gardens. Perfect for eating fresh, and in cooking in tomato sauce or other culinary wonders.

Future Farmers and Urban Agriculture

Much of the soil study and mapping of the South Bay areas from Compton to Seal Beach has been researched specifically for soil responses during earthquakes. With lots of historical data from the Long Beach earthquake of 1933.  But the results give us the information we need from an agricultural perspective too.

The surface deposits are Quaternary.   The Pleistocene strata are mainly of marine origin and consist of slightly to moderately consolidated beds of silty sand, clayey sand, and sandy silt.

Up to 50 m of Holocene sediment occurs in the valleys eroded by streams. The upper parts of Holocene deposits usually are fine grained and consist mainly of unconsolidated to partly consolidated deposits of sand, silt, and some clay, mixed with estuarine and marsh deposits near the coastline.

Lense deposits composed of medium to coarse sand and gravel occur occasionally in upper Holocene but predominate at depths of 5–12 m in Holocene, which is designated as the Gaspur aguifer zone. Subjacent Tertiary sediments are composed of shale, siltstone, chert, and limestone.  At a depth of 2100 m in the southwest corner of area-the Tertiary section overlies the northwest-trending axis of Wilmington anticline, so that the depth to the basement ranges from 2100 m near Terminal Island to 6100 m near Compton.  West of the Newport-Inglewood fault zone, the Tertiary layers lie over the Catalina shist.

What does all of that mean?  Let’s find out!  I for one would love to talk to geologists about our soil, and understand the science of it all.  Our food safety and maximum production per square foot all begins with soil health.

The Soil Kitchen art installation in Philadelphia is a brilliant temporary project that we would love to make a more permanent feature at our Spring Street Farm Project.

This project was put together by the Futurefarmer collective of twelve individuals – a blend of artists, engineers, gardeners, scientists and illustrators—Futurefarmers has used civic art to respond to social, economic and political systems for nearly two decades, to discuss urban agriculture.  They tested over 350 soil samples from all over the city, discussed the results with EPA scientists and held work shops on a variety of topics such as how to build a wind turbine and composting.  Fascinating!

Agriculture has been pushed out of our urban areas for decades and people are beginning to recognize the value of welcoming it back in to our midst. We should do everything we can do to help move this process forward.  Please join this site for information about future soil events….and please let me know if you would like to be a part of the LB Soil Study group…I would welcome partners in this effort!!